Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Really Neat Family Photo

Check out this awesome family photo from my sister's blog.  Okay, it's not "my" family in this photo, it's the Smith family.  But my family and the Smith family do overlap a bit--I've got two siblings, two in-laws, and four nieces in this photo.  Can you find them?

Family Reunion Photo (don't forget, you can double-click on the photo for a better view)

In the center are Grammie and Grandpa, then to the left and right are Rev. Lyle (our minister) and Uncle Ernie, two of Grammie and Grandpa's four sons.  All the rest are spouses, children, spouses of children, and grandchildren of the two brothers. 

Two spouses will soon be added to this large family: John (back left, next to Jett) is engaged to Naomi from New Zealand, and Sarah (bottom right, next to Uncle Ernie) is engaged to Dave from Canada. 

I've enjoyed getting to know this family over the last few years.  The first time I, personally, met any of the Smiths was when a few of them drove Jesh and Caleb back to Indiana from Texas (long story).  It was on that first visit of theirs to Indiana (many more followed) that the photo at the bottom of this post was taken.  This was before any of the Smith cousins had gotten married, so the family as a whole was a lot smaller then.

Oh, the stories that could be told.  Someone should write a book. :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Like It

One of the young people (Sam maybe?) discovered this one.
I like it.  Maybe you will too.

Leo Siberski conducts the Danse Bacchanale, from "Samson & Delilah" by Saint-Saens.

Monday, May 16, 2011

May Psalm Sing

We try to host psalm sings on a monthly basis, but sometimes it's hard to squeeze them in.  The Smith families were busy with family events during Jett and Evelyn's visit, and Rachel and Peter's.  And Jesh has been busier than ever with work, especially in recent weeks as he's been preparing to give a presentation at a conference in Vienna.  (Those of you at the FP church in London will be seeing him shortly, D.V., as he plans to stop there for the weekend both on his way to Austria, and on his way back again.)

But on Saturday we finally managed to have a psalm sing for the first time since February.  Despite the last-minute notice, a good number of people were able to make it.  Hopefully next time we'll be able to plan things farther in advance (yes, I know you've heard me say this before).

Our psalm sings usually involve a bit of good-natured debate over various points, from pitch or tempo to which version of a tune or psalm to sing.  This time proved to be no exception. :) We also spent more time than usual learning parts, since we didn't have advance notice of what tunes we would be practicing.  But despite the delays, we managed to sing and record four selections.

Psalm 21:1-6 to Free Church

Psalm 50:1-4 (1st version) to Malan

Psalm 50:5-8 (1st version) to Old 134th

Psalm 71:21-24 to Sheffield

I hope you enjoy these recordings.  I look forward to singing with you all again next month, all being well.  Next time, we hope to work on at least one tune that's *not* in our split-leaf psalters; Mercy has offered to copy and edit a couple of tunes from other books, so that we can print them out and pass them around beforehand.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Trip to the "Alligator Park"

We live not far from a state park known for its population of alligators.  One morning recently, I checked the weather forecast and saw that the day would be exceptionally beautiful, so I decided to take the boys to the "alligator park."

As it turns out, we only saw one alligator in the wild.  He was pretending to be a log, and waiting for dinner to come along.

We did see baby alligators in the nature center, and a nice lady who worked there got one out of the tank for the boys to pet.  We also saw an alligator skeleton in the nature center, and lots of other creepy (live) critters like poisonous snakes and spiders.  I think the nature center was the boys' favorite part of the park.

I, however, most enjoyed our hike.  The boys like to run, so they did.  I reminded them of the story of the tortoise and the hare, but to no avail.

We saw lots of white birds (what are these?)

And grey ones (don't know what this one is either)

And cool trees.  I like live oak trees.  How do they grow such huge branches parallel to the ground without the trunk splitting open?  A marvelous feat of engineering!

The boys liked this hollow one...

By the end of our hike, this tortoise mama was still good to go, but the two hares boys were worn out, so we called it a day.  Look at our dusty feet.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Lined out Psalm-Singing, Scottish Style, in Israel

Last week, I posted the first of two recordings of lined out psalm singing in English.  The first one was an older recording made in Scotland.  This second recording of lined-out English psalmody is particularly interesting to me, because while the precentor and singers are Scottish, the recording was made in Israel.  This is a tour group led by Rev. David Campbell of the Free Presbyterian Church, singing in St. Anne's Church at the pool of Bethesda.  Rev. Campbell was also the precentor for this recording.

Psalm 22:22-24, to Moravia, lined out

As I listen to this recording of the psalms being sung by Scots in Israel, I remember how my parents (who are in Israel) have told us that the Jews don't sing the psalms in their entirety as we do in the Free Presbyterian Church.  They sing only some of the psalms.  The remaining psalms are read or recited, or chanted by a cantor, but not sung by congregations.

It's so sad to think that this is a people and a nation who have the psalms in their original languages, and yet they do not sing them.

My mom is working on music for some of the psalms that are not commonly sung in Hebrew, to make them singable.  You can read about her efforts in her recent blog post.